Apple on Tuesday unveiled its new retail store at The Dubai Mall.
The actual opening date will be announced soon, an Apple spokeswoman said of what will be Apple's third store in the UAE, with others at Mall of the Emirates and Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi.
The two-level store with a tagline “Creativity. Connected.” has Apple targeting the country’s creative community that includes start-ups, independent art galleries, local app developers, boutiques, cafes and food trucks, according to the company.
About 35 local enterprises are represented on the storefront’s mural at The Dubai Mall, including Cinema Akil, the independent movie theatre in Al Quoz, and the Jam Jar, a community art space also in Al Quoz.
The UAE consumer electronics market recorded a sales turnover of US$3.23 billion last year. The figure is expected to touch $3.38bn this year and $3.48bn next year, according to the research firm Euromonitor International. Smartphones, followed by computers, made up the largest proportion of sales.
Last year Samsung was the top consumer electronic brand in this country, followed by Apple and Lenovo, Euromonitor said.
Disposable income, convenience and lifestyle needs of residents dictate the high consumer spending in the UAE on electronics, it said.
“In the case of electronics such as smartphone and laptops, we see consumers have a higher level of brand consciousness and have greater replacement frequency with the launch of newer versions of the products especially among consumer segments with higher disposable incomes,” said Rabia Yasmeen, a research analyst with Euromonitor.
“Expenditure on electronics in the country is not only attributable to residents but to a great number of visitors as well who purchase these items as souvenirs and gifts.”
One of Apple’s local fans is the Dubai-based start-up owner Nicola Monteath, the founder of the subscription box provider Chic Living Kit, and an iPhone 5 owner. “I am on the hunt for an iPad and would check out the new store for that as you can view all the products together and I can inquire about the warranty policies,” she said. “Otherwise you don’t need to go to a store to buy a gadget, as I would have done my research on a product already.” Ms Monteath said she is also waiting for the iPhone 8 to arrive.
Open seven days a week, Apple’s The Dubai Mall store will offer free hour-long workshops on the use of Apple devices. For young people between eight and 12 years old, the store will organise three-session Apple Camps during the summer season. During the workshops, children can learn about moviemaking or storytelling through storyboarding, video shooting and editing. They can also create interactive books with their own illustrations and sound effects.
Teachers can also sign up their students for field trips to the Apple store.
During the fourth quarter of 2016, Apple regained the top smartphone vendor ranking globally, edging past Samsung after eight quarters, according to Gartner research, by just 256,000 units.
Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus helped its score along with weakening demand for Samsung products in North America, western Europe, and in some countries such as Australia and South Korea, Gartner said.
Follow The National's Business section on Twitter